Koppel and Stephanopoulos Switching Jobs?


TED Koppel could be- come an early riser if certain camps within ABC have their way. There is talk that the venerable host of “Nightline,” whose contract with ABC News expires next year, is being considered as the new host of the Sunday morning public affairs show, “This Week,” according to published reports. The current host of “This Week,” former White House spokesman George Stephanopoulos, is rumored to be Koppel’s replacement on “Nightline.”

It would be a move some at the network hope would give the program a younger face, thereby attracting younger viewers – a group prized by advertisers. Koppel has long been rumored to be planning his retirement for next year, while the longtime “Nightline” substitute anchor, Chris Bury, has been mentioned as a logical successor.

Some TV industry vets wondered yesterday why Stephanopoulos would be given a shot at appearing on TV five nights a week when he has trouble attracting viewers to “This Week” – currently the lowest rated of the Sunday morning news shows.

This would be a rather odd move, although nothing comparable to, say, having Katie Couric replace Dan Rather. Koppel could certainly fill the Sunday slot and there’s no reason Stephanopoulos couldn’t do the late shift. I suppose it makes some sense if Koppel wants a less grueling schedule and ABC wants to showcase Stephanopoulos more often.

The network killed “This Week” with the Sam Donaldson-Cokie Roberts team that succeeded the venerable David Brinkley. Both Donaldson and Roberts are likeable and competent but the show never regained its former “serious” stature. That, combined with the rise of Tim Russert at “Meet the Press” and the proliferation of more competitors on cable made it tough for the lackluster “This Week” to hold an audience. While I was skeptical of Stephanopoulos as a replacement host, he has done a decent enough job and a revitalized format has actually made the show much better–although mostly on the strength of better guests on the roundtable discussions.

Steven Taylor is more excited about Koppel and less happy with the current TW format. He and I agree, though, that “Stephanoupoulos” is difficult to spell.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Alan Kellogg says:

    He and I agree, though, that “Stephanoupoulos” is difficult to spell.

    Think that’s hard, try saying it backwards. 🙂